Deputy Jason Flanders' canine partner Taz will get a bullet- and stab-proof vest thanks to the program.
The "Occasions" campaign for Groupon Grassroots ran from Feb. 15 to March 5, raising more than $335,000. With a suggested donation of $10 each, Groupon shoppers made donations to a fund that helped chosen charity partner Vested Interest in K9s provide vets for four-legged crime fighters, who put their lives on the line for the community and their human partners.
Flanders, a 15-year veteran of the Kendall County Sheriff's Department, teamed up with canine partner Taz in 2009. He and the 6-year-old German shepherd underwent a rigorous 14-week training program together. Flanders and Taz are certified through the International Police Dog Association for both Police Service and Narcotics Detection.
The duo doesn't just work together — they live together, too. While assigned to the canine unit, Taz goes home with Flanders ever night.
“I’m thrilled we were chosen" for the ballistic vest, Deputy Flanders said. “This line of work can be very dangerous, and Taz is a member of the family."
Vested Interest in K9s will provide more than 350 law enforcement dogs nationwide with the protective body armor in memory of K9 Rocco of the Pittsburgh Police Department, who sacrificed his life in the line of duty in January of 2014. Rocco was stabbed during a scuffle with a wanted man.
All vests will be
embroidered with the sentiment, "In Memory of K9 Rocco, Pittsburgh Police
Vested Interest in K9s Inc., a 501c(3) organization, accepts donations through its website, www.vik9s.org, and via mail: P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA02718.